9 to 5

Date 11th October 2017
Society Beaconsfield Operatic Society
Venue Phoenix Theatre Blyth
Type of Production Musical
Director Trevor Harder
Musical Director Susan Sabourn
Choreographer Laura Batey and Kathleen Holdroyd


Author: Ray Lowry

Nine to five is a touring version of the stage musical based on the film starring Dolly Parton (who also contributed to the writing). Not often seen these days, Beaconsfield Operatic Society has revived it and it is good to see something different. It has had a chequered history (the touring version faring better than the original Broadway show) but it is very topical, being a tale of sexual harassment and shooting in the workplace.

The company must be congratulated on putting on an enthusiastic and pacy production which shows off their talents well. The director (Trevor Harder)  came into the show late on but seems to have made up for lost time marshalling the skills and versatility of the company to good effect. The show’s success depends on the three principals and they don’t disappoint: Kath Dryden (Violet Newstead) has a strong voice and a forceful character and she can switch from comedy to tragedy in the blink of an eye; Kathryn Sabourn (Doralee Rhodes) is perfect for the dumb blond part though she soon shows her mettle and sings and acts with great style; and Cole Kelly (Judy Bernly) nicely underplays her character initially only to blossom as the plot unfolds and  her character gains confidence.

Other principals worth a mention are Michael Douglas (Franklin Hart Junior) as the sexist boss who is fiddling the books; and Chelle Milne (Roz Keith) who has a secret crush on the boss. The rest of the cast filled out the minimalistic set with bags of emotion and song. The off-stage orchestra is a pleasure to hear although the cast occasionally got out of step with the accompaniment; but attempting the technical challenge in the first place should be applauded.  On the night I went the audience was enthusiastic but thin which is a pity as this is an entertaining show with lots to offer including Dolly Parton herself who helps the show along with an audio-visual presence.